Front Entrance of Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center

RPSEC Environmental Science Award 2019

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Congratulations to McNeill Franklin from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Augusta, GA, recipient of the 2019 Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center Environmental Science Award.

The 2019 CSRA Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held on March 17 at USC Aiken. There were nearly 200 projects from CSRA schools displayed at the fair. Each year, the RPSEC presents an environmental science award in honor of Dr. Ruth Patrick. Dr. Patrick pioneered work in the study of fresh water ecosystems and developed methods for measuring the health of these systems.

2019 Franklin 1
2019 Franklin 2
2019 Franklin 3
2019 Franklin 4

Title of Project

"Macroinvertebrate Populations in the Augusta Canal"


The purpose of this research project was to examine the macroinvertebrates found in the Augusta Canal as a determinant of water quality. Analysis of species distribution and diversity at four sites was calculated. From the months of July to December 2018, samples were collected one day a month by kayaking along the canal. Four sites were sampled longitudinally using scoop nets. Macroinvertebrates were identified to order or family and the aquatic vegetation recorded at each site. The hypothesis that we would record the greatest number and diversity of organisms in the fall, due to the input of terrestrial organic matter as a food source. Sampling was conducted during a morning float, except for the month of November. Site 1 had the highest Shannon Wiener index at .448. Site 4 was overcome by monthly scud samples containing on average of 71% of the total at that site. This skewed our data immensely, since we found hundreds of scuds at a time at site 4, while the number of scuds or any other organism at the other sites was not nearly as high. However, in our November pull, we only found 94 scuds instead of 200+, which shows that timing and the weather has a major impact on data. As summer turned into fall, we noticed the change in the more populous organisms. In July, we saw more of bloodworms and midges, but that turned into crayfish and damselfly nymphs in the cooler weather, the longer life cycle of these organisms may have influenced the diversity data.